Lives of the fellows

Murray Mccheyne Baird

b.3 April 1896 d.28 November 1971
BA New Bruns(1916) BA Oxon(1922) MB BS Lond(1924) MRCP(1927) FRCPC(1947) FRCP(1953)

Dr. Baird was born in the Province of New Brunswick and received his undergraduate education there, leaving in 1916 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He was elected Rhodes Scholar for New Brunswick in 1916 but did not go up to Oxford until he had completed three years in the Canadian Army during World War I. As a member of New College he studied for the Honours Degree in Physiology which he received in 1922 and then proceeded to London for his clinical work at Guy’s Hospital. He qualified with the MB, BS in 1924. He undertook postgraduate work at Guy’s and was Griffith’s demonstrator in Pathology during that time. He became Medical Registrar of the Hospital from 1927 to 1928 and qualified with the MRCP London in 1927.

Dr. Baird’s educational career was marked by his winning the Francis Gotch Memorial Prize in Physiology at Oxford University in 1922 and the Beaney Prize in Pathology at Guy’s Hospital in 1925. Returning to Canada in 1928 Dr. Baird took up the specialty of Internal Medicine, joining the staff of the Vancouver General Hospital that year.

With the outbreak of war Dr. Baird joined the Canadian Army and went overseas in June 1942 as Lieut Colonel in charge of medicine in No. 16 Canadian General Hospital. Thereafter he served in France, Belgium, and Germany, and in March 1945 was promoted to the rank of Colonel and was made Canadian Consultant in Medicine in Northwest Europe, under the 21st Army Group.

On returning to Vancouver, Col. Baird was made Chief of Medicine at the large Shaughnessy Veteran’s Hospital and at St. Vincent’s Hospital nearby. With the opening of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in 1950 he was made Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, a post which he held until 1964. Always ready to carry more than his share of the load in the medical community Dr. Baird served as President of the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons for the Province of British Columbia from 1948 to 1951. He was very active in the planning of an Academy of Medicine which would house not only the administrative offices of the Canadian Medical Association in British Columbia and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Province, but chiefly its remarkable library which had been started by Sir William Osier in 1912.

In professional organizations Dr. Baird was preeminent in the field of internal medicine and did a great deal to establish this speciality on a sound scientific basis on the West coast of Canada.

He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, having been elected in 1947, and he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1953.

The rigorous training in Great Britain which Dr. Murray Baird received made him a judicious and resourceful practitioner in a rapidly growing field after World War II in his home territory of British Columbia. His clinical advice was matched by his excellent public service, and the profession was greatly enriched by his sound judgement and literary bent. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs could not have chosen a more sagacious and sympathetic Chief of Medicine for their large endeavour at Shaughnessy Hospital Vancouver, and it was largely Dr. Baird’s ability which made this hospital what it has become.

The Royal College of Physicians of London could be said to have been extremely well represented on the far West coast of Canada by an excellent product of British scholarship.

WC Gibson

[Can. Med. Ass. J., 1972, 22 Apr]

(Volume VI, page 19)

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